Protecting Women And Children From Domestic Violence
Soon after taking office, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty met with front-line workers to seek their advice on better ways to protect women and children from domestic violence. He appointed his Parliamentary Assistant, MPP Laurel Broten, to consult with stakeholders and identify potential reforms in tackling domestic violence.
Broten participated in 30 roundtable meetings involving over 180 experts and front-line workers, helping the government gain further insight into how to fight domestic violence.
The government has addressed two issues of economic independence for women, a key factor in their safety: raising the general minimum wage and increasing child care supports.
Today's announcement is the first step in a long-term approach that will better protect women and children.
The government will provide $3.5 million each year to provide supports to women and children in second-stage housing. Second-stage housing provides safe, secure accommodation for abused women and their children to establish lives free of violence.
The government will initiate stakeholder consultations on how to improve second-stage housing supports in the context of the government's affordable housing strategy.
Pilot Project -- Risk Assessment Tool
The government is conducting a pilot project to train police officers, Crown attorneys and others working in the criminal justice system to better assess risk in abusive situations. Using the Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment tool, they will learn to quickly identify "predictors" for domestic violence to reoccur. This risk assessment tool was developed to respond to May/Iles and Hadley inquest jury recommendations.
Education and Prevention
The government will help mobilize communities to address domestic violence through education and awareness campaigns. Breaking the cycle of violence will require the involvement of everyone -- from governments to business and throughout the community.
The early years of childhood are pivotal to instil positive values and attitudes about relationships. Boys who witness abuse in their families are more likely to become abusers themselves. Girls who witness abuse are more likely to later become victims. Public education helps children and youth achieve healthy, equitable relationships and challenges young people to break the cycle of violence.
Provincial Domestic Violence Symposium
The government will hold a provincial conference on domestic violence that will bring together community leaders, experts and service providers to share best practices in preventing violence and providing supports to victims. Research and consultations indicate that there are many innovative approaches to dealing with domestic violence that are being taken in communities across Ontario and in other jurisdictions.
Ministerial Steering Committee on Domestic Violence
The Minister Responsible for Women's Issues will chair the Ministerial Steering Committee on Domestic Violence, made up of key ministers and MPP Laurel Broten. The committee will elevate domestic violence as a priority and provide leadership in developing a coordinated approach that fully considers input from a broad range of groups.
Ministers on the committee are:
- Minister of Community and Social Services and Minister Responsible for Women's Issues (Chair)
- Attorney General
- Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
- Minister of Northern Development and Mines
- Minister of Education
- Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
- Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
- Minister of Labour
- Minister of Children and Youth Services
- Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs
- Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal